Of romance and desserts

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When I come to think of my growing bond with my husband, I can’t help noticing how we enjoy desserts over some amusing conversations. Ironically, our very first meet was at an ice-cream parlour in Surat. That time, we didn’t quite know that we’d become best friends. I won’t call us soul-mates; really don’t know what that means. But this guy can crack me up like crazy. I literally end up begging him to stop his humorous talks with tears in my eyes. It’s a real blessing to find that he can make me laugh–even when it is only for a few seconds, for I’m a pessimist and he always looks at the bright side of life. We’re complete opposite, that way. So, yes, desserts easily fetch big smiles on our faces. Meals are generally tedious, for when hunger strikes, all you do is listen to your tummy. It’s only when the sweet part materialises on the table, do we fill our hearts with pleasure. Next month, we’ll be completing five years of marriage.

I’d like to share some of our favourite ‘dessert’ moments. I remember how he used to visit me during his time at a post-graduate school and surprise me with some chocolates from Wenger’s Bakery, Delhi; it was his sweet act of compensating for our distance affair. I can’t help smiling with pride, thinking of those ‘after marriage’ moments in our tiny Mumbai home, when we treated each other with some Alphonso mangoes (bought from Matunga Mango House) dipped in Naturals’ malai ice-cream.

Thinking of our honeymoon. I tipped the chef at Apple Orchard resort in Lachen, North Sikkim, for the cherry dish he served us after our meal. I wonder how some really talented people love treating their guests with the best.

And, thinking of home. We love to keep going back to the classic American dry-fruit ice-cream or the cold coco drink in Surat, to relive the early days of our friendship. In the last two years, he showed me how to enjoy piping hot desi sweets in the bone-chilling cold weather of January, at the famous Gohana’s Jalebi shop and at Bikanervala, in Gurgaon. Luckily, he knows when I desperately need my plate of Paris-Brest at L’Opera, my favourite patisserie shop in Gurgaon. The crunchy texture and the smoothest hazel-nut cream of the Paris-Brest can quickly fix those minutes of agonies.

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Not to forget, during our travels, A-One Kulfa in Amritsar, was the most memorable one. A mix of falooda and kulfi, discovering the kulfa was truly a winning act. It’s amazing to have some hearty talks, make a few sweet confessions and share some hope for the future–all over desserts!

Of late, I have noticed that my husband enjoys homemade desserts the most. It does take efforts to please him, but the whole process is definitely worthwhile when we both are together in the kitchen, cooking or baking a heart swaying sweet dish. It is in winters when I make some gajar ka halwa or carrot halwa, to get him charm me with the award of being the world’s best cook (at least for him).

Although there are various recipes of Gajar ka halwa found on the internet, I like this one the best. It’s how my mum makes it. Ghee is the star here and so is the celebration of love!

Recipe: Gajar ka Halwa

  1. Grate three to four medium-sized carrots. Keep aside.
  2. Take a kadhai or a wok. Add lots of ghee. Once it’s hot, add the grated carrots. Make sure the entire batch of carrots is dipped coated with ghee. Till I don’t see my carrots shining, I keep adding more ghee.
  3. Roast the carrots for a few minutes in the ghee. Don’t let the colour or texture of the carrots change to its extreme.
  4. After about four to six minutes of roasting the carrots, you can add about 300 ml milk. I make sure that the carrots are totally dipped in milk. Keep low flame and keep stirring it to make sure there are no sticky substances under and around the kadhai.
  5. You will notice that the milk has been absorbed by the carrots. Once the carrots start releasing the ghee, add 3/4 cup of sugar. You can add less initially, if you want.
  6. Add 3/4 teaspoon of cardamom powder, some cashew-nuts (broken in halves) and raisins. Once you notice that the sugar has melted, remove it from the flame. Serve hot.

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